Let’s go outside …
… or can’t we just open a window?
So let’s discuss something completely different. This just might be too trivial and a No-Thing, at all. There definitely are more important things to discuss but i do want to address this one ting, about practicing yoga (or at least asana) outdoors in the summertime. I’ve been insistent on keeping my classes inside, or at least trying, and i’ve been questioned quite a lot about this decision. It just might even be a loss and a set back in my business and classes, since it’s not the most popular thing to insist on.
Like it is mandatory to teach in the open air just because the sun is shining and it’s past may. Why? What’s so amazing about practicing in the heat of sunshine, with all other elements of nature having their way? As well as the distractions and obstructions from other humans their doings? Yes yes, i get it, the feeling of freedom and fresh air, sort of.
Every year, i have taught outdoors during the summer. Every year, i have found it utterly disturbing and unsatisfying, with a few exception of spaces that where quiet and remote, and within a framework with a ceiling, like a wall-less room. For me as a teacher the overall quality of the class i teach is everything. I cannot say my best is enough when i bring in the forces of nature, organic or otherwise.
I’ve taught in all sorts of public places and spaces, indoors and outdoors, by the waters, in the forests, in dojos (while other activities happening), at malls, down town squares, in cafés, in a castle, the park of the castle, in industrial areas, in museums, outside museums, in public hallways, in city parks, at the farm, on theater stages (which was cool), at art galleries, on hilltops … among other spots. It’s been fun and exciting. But nowadays, i just want to teach a really good class, and inspire and empower my students to the fullest of my ability, all year round. And i want my students to have the proper conditions to be present for themselves and each other.
My experience of teaching in all sorts of venues, has left me with the conclusion that inspiring enclosed spaces enhance the quality of the teachings. Walking into a room, where attention and silence are encouraged, and where we can exhale the outside world, just for a moment, is really what many people seeking yoga actually need. We need a reversal of the flow of attention from what’s going on out there to what’s happening on the inside. We should have a space where this is honored and supported. Open and active surroundings are sometimes said to be good practices for focus and steadiness, but i really don’t think that exacerbating the challenges will make us stronger, they just make us more exhausted. Or at the very least, keep us from going deep enough to explore and examine anything of significance. Serious yoga practice is challenging as it is. Appointing a given time and space for it makes it easier to actually show up, arrive and rest in the process of discovery.
So this is why i insist on bringing you inside. It’s because, most of the time you’re outside (literally or figuratively). Allow for your time in practice to become sacred, and a whole different experience will follow, all the way out.
See you at the Dharma Loft.
Love // Alex